APTOPIX Minneapolis Police Death (copy)

Madeline Curry attends a protest May 30 with her father outside the Minneapolis 5th Police Precinct in Minneapolis while wearing a protective mask that reads “I CAN’T BREATHE.”

Since I retired from AT&T three years ago, thanks to my union-negotiated retirement benefits, I’ve been able to remain active in my community. I take my volunteer service seriously because I love my community.

And right now, my community is in pain.

The pandemic has killed more than 1,200 people in North Carolina. Most of them were retirees like me.

How can I pretend it’s over when people are still dying? Unemployment is killing the futures of more than 600,000 people who have lost their jobs since the pandemic began.

This is especially true for Black women because of the long-existing pay and wealth inequality. How can they hope to retire tomorrow when they can’t afford to make ends meet today?

And the ugliness of racism, policy brutality and racial injustice keeps killing Black people. How can we live if we can’t breathe?

Our officials still have a job to do to address the triple threats of this pandemic, unemployment and structural racism. We need action from lawmakers to keep people employed now, protect the retirement benefits we’ve earned over a lifetime of work, and to value Black lives.

That’s what the HEROES Act does, and we need Sen. Tillis to support it.

Jocelyn Bryant

Greensboro

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